Beloved actor Jim Carrey just turned 60 today, on January 17th, he was born in 1962. He’s best known for his roles in Dumb and Dumber, Liar Liar, Fun with Dick & Jane, Yes Man and so many other films. Jim was born in New Market Ontario, Canada and was always the loud, expressive face making character even back into his early childhood. The class clown so to speak, what other character could he possibly be?
But most people do not know the troubling history of Jim Carrey and his family. The hardships and struggles he had to overcome, let alone put on a happy face and be an extremely talented comedian despite the troubles weighing him down emotionally and mentally behind the scenes. It took a lot for him to become the king of slapstick comedy and to dominate the film scene in the 90’s, even to this day.
At just 10 years old Carrey wrote a letter to Carol Burnett of the Carol Burnett show explaining how his impressions would make him a perfect addition to the lineup. Although he was not accepted he did get a rejection letter which did not deter him from his dream of being the king of comedy in any way whatsoever.
When Jim Carrey was just 14 years old his father Percy lost his job and his family became homeless which caused the family to live in a van for a short while. Jim, his father and his two siblings would make ends meet with Janitorial work. Jim’s father was supportive of his career and would drive him around to comedy gigs he had as a child.
His mother fell ill and at the age of 16 Carrey was forced to drop out of school to help his family stay afloat. “I think all funny people are born from sick moms. She was a hoot too!” Jim shares about his mother.
Because Jim Carrey dropped out of school at 16 it did allow him to dedicate more time to his career. His mother ended up dying in 1991 and it devastated Jim. This was before his big upswing in his comedy and film career. His father ended up dying just three short years later. A tough time for him to begin to have material success but lose those closest to him that supported him with all of their love and encouragement as children.
One of the lessons that Jim Carrey shares he learned from his father was..
“I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which is that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
Carrey started receiving gigs at the comedy store, tv shores, the mask, dumb and dumber and more. All within a very short period of time, some of them within the same year. This changed the trajectory of his career drastically.
In 1987 he married actress Melissa Womer, but they divorced in 1995. Jim then married another Dumb & Dumber co-star Lauren Holly, although that marriage lasted less than a year. He was briefly engaged to Renee Zellweger. In 2005 he met model and actress Jenny McCarthy whom he dated until 2010. A hugely vocal advocate for further medical research around vaccines.
Carrey then struggled with depression and dated a woman by the name of Cathriona White. The two bonded over their sadness and depression and shared different anti-depressant drugs. Later on Cathriona committed suicide with the pills that were allegedly given to her by Jim Carrey. The family of Cathriona actually took Jim Carrey to court over her death citing that he was mentally abusive and gave her an STD. The case was later dropped and dismissed.
Needless to say, Carrey has had a lot of battles in this life and still seems to be searching for himself in certain ways. From the early on trouble with family finances and instability, to his parents dying within a short time period, to relationships that seem to be challenging for both him and his partners. We can only hope that Jim finds his way, and finds meaning, purpose and fulfillment beyond the screen and deep in his soul. Some of the funniest actors and comedians hide their closet depression the most.
We can only pray that Jim Carrey isn’t another of these tormented souls. On this day, we wish Jim Carrey a happy birthday.
Carrey has had a positive attitude through it all and shares “I’m just making a conscious choice to see perceive challenges as beneficial so that I can deal with them in the most productive way.”